Many people assume that wearing an all-black ensemble means adopting a “gothic” style. Those people would be wrong. While there’s nothing wrong with adding a few gothic elements to your wardrobe, an all-black outfit doesn’t have to mean losing your own personal style. In fact, you can easily achieve any look just by simply selecting the right jewelry, accessories, and pieces of clothing. Plus, creating new outfits from dark clothing can provide an easy way to rock a sleek and sophisticated look whenever you feel like it. It may take a little playing around with the items in your closet to get your new all-black look up to snuff, but you won’t have selected your outfit blindly.
Here are a few of today’s most popular style categories with easy tips and tricks on how to stay true to your fashion preferences while wearing all black.
When you think of preppy style, what do you imagine? Probably lots of tight sweaters, tailored dresses, and Burberry trench coats—all in various shades of blue, pink, green, and yellow. You know, all the bright, happy colors. Black is, obviously a vastly different color than those typically associated with preppy style. But that doesn’t mean that black pieces can’t be combined together to create a preppy outfit.
Let’s start with the basics. Forget about any prints and instead focus achieving a plain, uniform base layer, if you will. Well-fitting pants and skater skirts are great options to throw on your bottom half. Add a top that coincides with your bottom’s exact shade of black and look for something that hugs your body well without it being too tight. Or, if you prefer, throw on your favorite little black dress. You’ll want to show off a little of your shape. Then, find a “cool girl” outer layer that only enhances your chosen outfit with a little added texture. An unexpected wool or fabric collar on a sleek leather jacket can add just a hint of punk to your preppy style to keep you entire outfit true to your personal tastes.
As for shoes, you can’t go wrong with a basic black ballet flat or heeled pump. If you crave a little more style than that, try over-the-knee boots or a pair of unique men's oxfords for an interesting masculine touch. Accessorize your ensemble with a traditional bag like a folded, clasped satchel or a handy tote bag.
Feeling a little cold? Throw a knit scarf around your neck for added visual interest and, of course, warmth. A cute necklace can also up the ante to really add some pep to your preppy step. Don’t forget to top off your whole look with style-appropriate hair and makeup to firmly plant your preppy roots. Blown-out, slightly curled hair and a swipe of red lipstick should do the trick.
Those that follow a more Bohemian style are known for wearing earthy colors, especially beige and brown. But while it may certainly be somewhat of a culture shock, wearing all black can add an interesting change of pace that’s sure to get you noticed. Maintaining your Bohemian vibe all comes down to flowing pieces of clothing and the right accessories.(There is even an entire genre known as Hippie Goth!)
Rule number one for bohemian babes attempting a clothing blackout: go for loose-fitting clothes. Garments that sway when you walk are key, and, as a sweet bonus, are also infinitely more comfortable than tight jeans or dresses. Be careful not to overdo it, though; you don’t want to mask your body with oversized pieces. Instead, decide if you’d rather have wide leg pants or a free-flowing shirt and then allow your other half to rock more fitting clothing.
While you won’t be able to showcase your bohemian look with only your clothes as well as you would if you chose other colors, you can still achieve that same overall vibe with accessories. A suede jacket with fringe detailing is a great wardrobe addition that instantly adds a more relaxed element to your ensemble. Fringe, in general, is a great way to incorporate your style into an all-black outfit; consider fringe bags and booties but don’t wear them all at once. Jewelry can be another way to make your black clothes look more bohemian. Long gold necklaces and a bold gold wrist cuff can easily warm up your entire look. Complete your new look with a natural-looking, warm beauty look and a large black wide-brim felt hat.
Let’s face it: not everyone wants to “dress up” every time they leave the house. Some people feel most like themselves in relaxed, casual wear. And for casual dressers, comfort is key. While black isn’t a foreign clothing color to them, they are certainly better remembered for their loose-fitting jeans and basic white t-shirts. Luckily, adopting an all-black look while still remaining casual isn’t too difficult of a feat.
First off, find dark clothing that you feel good in. You may try on a bunch of different shirts and pants, but if you’re like most people who love dressing casually, you already know what you like to wear and what is comfortable for you. If you love cozy sweatshirts, go grab one in black and pair it with more form fitting black jeans. Don’t feel bad about hanging onto what’s familiar.
Add a trendy little touch with modern accessories like a crossbody bag with simple metallic detailing. Embrace minimalist details like a thin, delicate necklace or dainty earrings in your preferred choice of metal. Pairing an all black outfit with small, uniform metal accessories can take your casual outfit to the next level while still remaining true to your personal style and the look you’re going for.
Similar to casual styles, those who opt for a sportier look tend to wear stretchy, comfortable clothes that allow them to pick up and go at any given moment. Wearing an all-black outfit shouldn’t be a far cry from their daily looks, but, if you’re not used to it, the color change can be jarring.
Black leggings and joggers are both crucial elements in the creation of a sporty all-black ensemble. Throw on a long, all-black jersey or sweatshirt and pair your outfit with a pair of comfortable, sleek sneakers. To remain on-trend, grab your favorite Adidas pieces and incorporate them into your look. Snap on a baseball cap and a piece of delicate yet sturdy jewelry and you’re all set. A hot sporty look doesn’t need many accessories, so just choose an appropriate bag from your closet (like a thin crossbody or an in-fashion backpack), and you’re ready to go out, whether you’re headed to a lunch date with your girls or to campus for your next class.
If you consider your style “punk,” then you already know that rules are arbitrary, but that doesn’t make them any less effective as helpful guidelines to follow. You’re also probably more than familiar with the color black. Many typical “punk” pieces of clothing are already pretty dark so transitioning to a completely black outfit may not be that hard; in fact, black may already be your favorite color.
It’s time to embrace the darkness. Add some more shadowy elements to your wardrobe with interesting, unique black pieces. If you already flirt with gothic-style clothes, don’t be afraid to incorporate them into your day-to-day look; unlike the other typical fashion styles, your punk style already shares some similarities with most gothic outfits. You’ll likely be able to pair any gothic dresses or shirts you find with your existing closet. Pair these pieces with black ripped jeans or printed leggings. Slide into a quality leather jacket, and you’ll look tough and ready to fight the system.
But, of course, don’t ever leave the house without your accessories. Creepers, short sneakers, and boots—whether they’re tall lace-ups or short combat boots—are great footwear options. Bags with studs, interesting strap designs, or edgy metallic pieces are also great ways to accessorize your look. Any piercings you may have can certainly magnify your punk style, as can hair colors or designs (like this oil slick trend).
Remember, all-black ensembles are far from gothic outfits. You decide what fashion style you’re going for, not the color of your clothes. Be sure to experiment with darker clothing, and even gothic skirts, to see how well you can create new and interesting looks just by swapping your regular outfit’s typical color scheme for black. You may even be inspired to try out an entirely new category of style all together. Whether you consider your style to be preppy, bohemian, casual, sporty, or punk, dare to switch up your fashion game every once in a while. Never be afraid to experiment!
Do you have any go-to all-black outfits that you love to rock on the regular? How do you style your clothes so that you maintain your own individual style? We’d love to hear what you do to stay true to your personal tastes.
Let us know any style tips you may have to wear black head-to-toe in the comments section below!
(Cover image courtesy of StyleCaster)